At the forefront of Japanese street style, Candy is where the edgiest Tokyoites converge, and no dedicated shopper should leave Tokyowithout a visit. Its selection of used clothing – think zebra-stripe down jackets and 80s graphical sweaters – sits comfortably among new pieces by labels like Gareth Pugh, KTZ and Mikio Sakabe. It also gives ample space to the out-of-this-world stylings of underground local brands like Runurunu and Balmung which take a no-holds-barred approach to colour and outrageous volume.
• 1F 18-4 Udagawa-Cho Shibuya-ku, +81 3 5456 9891, Open daily noon-10pm
Hectic, narrow Takeshita-Dori at Harajuku station is nothing more than a shopping trap for tourists, but step off the main drag and you'll find Faline, one of city's most iconic boutiques. It's micro-closet size belies the power it has over the street scene in Tokyo, and funky brands likeJeremy Scott have it to thank for their success here. Clothing that will get you noticed by street photographers is the name of the game, so expect an eclectic high-low mix of neon sweaters from Scott and couture headbands from Maison Michele. The too-cool staff may be deep in chat with local "it" girls and boys, but a nod is all it takes to snap them into happy-to-help mode.
• 1-7-5 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, +81 3 3403 8050, Open daily noon-9pm
Harcoza serves up fashion quirks with an eclectic selection of accessories like necklaces made from melted rubber balls and bonsai trees fashioned into watches, but the show-stealer is the interior – featuring a floor-to-ceiling bouncy-ball dispenser, a ceramic purple poodle guarding the stairs, and carpet patterned like Lego blocks. Housed in a brand new building with a terrace and glass facade, it may sound crude but it's not. Downstairs a small stage spans the width of the room, replete with velvet curtains and disco ball – close the curtains and it transforms into a fitting room where you can try on playful womenswear like blouses with hexagon-shaped puff-sleeves and asymmetrical tulip skirts.
• 1F, 2-15-9 Ebisu-Nishi Shibuya-ku, +81 3 6416 0725, Open Wed-Mon 11am-7.30pm
A perfect example of a zakka-ya, a popular style of shop that sells a discerningly curated selection of trinkets, and odds and ends. Look for ear-shaped earrings, fork and spoon necklaces and colourful stackable skull rings that can be mixed and matched. Local designer Yoruko Banzai's bags made of leather and rope look like they come from a child's playhouse and are a reasonable price for a unique piece. And with Banzai stamped on the back you'll always remember what city you picked it up in. The shop is not much larger than a ship's cabin, so keep your elbows in and keep large movements to a minimum.
• 6-19-16 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, +81 3 6427 1219, Open daily noon-8pm
Once a tenant of the 109 shopping mall, this wildly popular brand has now set up at the entrance to Center-Gai, the narrow shopping street where local kids gather at all hours. Poised to become a new landmark, it's easily identified by the giant animatronic bear on a swing in the second floor window that tourists and fans of WC designer (and model, and TV presenter, and actress) Chinatsu Wakatsuki giddily photograph from the street. The clothes are at the forefront of Shibuya fashion, taking cues from the park sandpit, the urban divebar and grandma's wardrobe, and reworking them into a cutesy package for teenagers.
• 22-4 Udogawa Shibuya-ku, +81 3 5728 3752, Open daily 11am-10pm
Bubbles is part of a new wave of young female-run used clothing boutiques that have colourful, cute pieces of nostalgia from the 80s and 90s that are rampantly popular in Tokyo. Shop manager Coi is a local fashion icon and blogger who posts the outfits she puts together online. Think PVC raincoats, retro jacquard prints and kitschy fascinators. The shop has a new, fancy space in the back streets of Harajuku. It's been lovingly made to look like the home of a modern girl obsessed with the 1970s and 80s, replete with a snakeskin sofa, iMac and a stuffed ET that perches on a mannequin's shoulder.
• 1F 4-32-12 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, +81 3 5772 7126, Open daily noon-8pm
While the typical Tokyo fashion is outlandish and wild, there are still pockets where slick and polished clothing can be found. At Xanadu, on the fourth floor of a nondescript apartment complex 10 minutes from Harajuku station, every brand is hand-selected by owner Tatsuro Motohashi, who only allows the chicest local designs into his store. Osaka brand Roggykei and Tokyo-grown FEAR make some of the edgiest pieces around, such as a vest made of vinyl and eyelet lace, oversized metallic leather clutches and wrist bands slathered in studs and zips.
• 4F 3-34-7 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, +81 3 6459 2826, Open Fri-Wed 1pm-8pm
This shop started a trend that weaned potential Lolitas off goth and into a world of 80s and 90s nostalgia in which My Little Pony is the height of style. Come here for secondhand cartoon sweaters, neon petticoats and pink roller skates or a T-shirt with a cracked silk screen of 1980s-era Madonna. You get the picture. Despite the candyfloss palette, the fashion here is still decidedly DIY and punk, and pigtailed store manager Tavuchi has a cool attitude to match. Sister store Spank Me! in Shibuya-ku goes a little easier on the sugary sweet styles.
• 2F Shiraishi Building, 4-24-7 Kouenji-Minami, Suginami-ku, +81 3 3317 5690, Open 1pm-8pm
Far away from the bustle of central Tokyo, this mini mall has become legendary among DIY fashion enthusiasts. Each shop – Secret Dog, Garter, Ilil, Hayatochiri and Southpole - is owned by young enthusiastic designers who toil away making one-off pieces like petticoats and blouses made from wire mesh, or a pair of Nike Air Force 1 trainers nailed to traditional wooden sandal blocks and spray-painted pink. The tenants are constantly improving on the building, and the latest addition is a gallery space that has exhibits by avant garde international artists. It's nitty and gritty, and if it's good enough for Pharrell Williams, Lady Gaga and Gucci's Frida Giannini – all recent visitors – then it's good enough for you.
• Kitakore Building, 3-4-13 Koenji-Kita Suginami, +81 3 5356 9296, Open daily 1pm-9pm
10. The Contemporary Fix
One of the most innovative shops in Tokyo, Contemporary Fix often invites the designers of the brands they carry to do unique events in the store. Recently Mastermind opened a ramen stand, and a pop-up store by must-see menswear brand Phenomenon proved so popular that the label closed its own headquarters and is now permanently carried here. These brands are at the top of their game, so expect prices to match. Try not to get distracted by the restaurant and the toys and vintage posters that line every inch of the walls, and aim up the narrow spiral staircase to get to the good stuff.
• 3-12-14 Kita Aoyama Minato-ku, +81 3 6418 1460, Open daily noon-8pm